Solar panel roads to power homesBen Wallace
A road covered in a layer of thin solar panels that can help power homes and offices is to be built in the UK next year. The quarter-inch photovoltaic material can be glued on top of a traditional road surface and is tough enough to withstand lorries driving over it, according to the engineers behind the scheme at Colas, who plan to test its Wattway solar road at up to three trial sites in the UK.
In areas with 1,000 hours of sunshine a year, just 12ft of road surface can provide enough electricity to power the lights and electrical appliances of one home. The technology’s inventors suggest harnessing solar power from roads will be a more publicly acceptable way of producing green energy than large solar farms.
The solar panels, which can also be glued onto cycle paths and car parks, are coated in a glass bead resin to give vehicles grip and prevent skidding. As well as being fed into the grid, electricity generated by the roads could be used to power street lights and electric road signs, and to charge electric vehicles.
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